NCEF condemns killing of Christians by ISWAP on Christmas day
Urges dismissal of ‘repented terrorists’ absorbed into Nigeria army
The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has described the killing of 11 Nigerian Christians on Christmas Day by the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) as callous and unwarranted, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to dismiss all ‘repented terrorists’ absorbed into the Nigeria Army. It asked the President and army authorities to at best constitute them into Civilian Task Force if they were willing to help combat terrorism in the country, insisting that no sensible government enlists terrorists into its army.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, Chairman of NCEF, Elder Solomon Asemota (SAN), the forum also urged President Buhari, Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III and Islamic leaders to open up dialogue with the rest of the country to resolve the harms caused by religious intolerance in Nigeria. It noted that the timing the killing for Christmas Day meant that the insurgents deliberately desecrated the day in which Christians all over the world mark the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and the central figure of the Christian faith.
“The killings were not only a heinous crime, but also provocative and insulting. If President Buhari is sincere that Islamic terrorists are ‘godless, callous gangs of mass murderers,’ he should immediately reorganise the nation’s security units entirely in the control of Muslims from the North in compliance with the Federal Character Principle in Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution.
“The President had responded in a statement that he was profoundly saddened and shocked by the death of innocent hostages in the hands of remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers that have given Islam a bad name through their atrocities.
“More than any individual, President Buhari should be held responsible for the audacity, expansion, and unbridled atrocities of ISWAP, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria. He created the atmosphere for Islamic insurgency to thrive in the country by adopting enlisting ‘repentant’ terrorists into the Nigeria Army,” the statement reads.
Asemota also urged the President and the Sultan of Sokoto, as principal decision makers on all issues involving Islam in Nigeria, to participate in building One Country, One System, which is democracy and dismantle all conflicting ideologies of sharia and democracy. He said the solution to Islamic terrorism in Nigeria is for democracy to remain the only national ideology as designed by the country’s founding fathers and if the President is sincerely committed to the unity of Nigeria, he should promote democracy.He noted that other Muslim countries in the world were relaxing their erstwhile hard Islamic stance to operate meaningfully in modern multi-cultural, multi- religious and multi-ethnic societies.
“President Buhari has done more than any leader in this country to inflame this conflict of ideologies. Our suspicion is that the statement of President Buhari is for the benefit of United States of America, which recently placed Nigeria on its Special Watch List (SWL). “However, President Buhari has the opportunity to prove us wrong by ensuring that Fulani herdsmen are arrested and prosecuted. The NCEF would however take the President by his word that, “We should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims,” he added.